Hello my gentledemons and lady devils! After a brief hiatus (I was kidnapped and held hostage suspended upside down for 4 weeks) I am back for some more obscure and low budget horror reviews. This time I’ve found you a little spell of a movie by director Scott B. Hansen (Open Your Eyes, Until it Hurts) entitled The Possession Experiment. It’s so low budget and obscure it’s not even released til the end of this month, has only one noteable actor, and isn’t even listed on Rottentomatoes.com yet. Before your mind hits the “next” button, hear me out. I know the title is shit and seems like a mockbuster ripoff of whatever the last demonic possession movie to come out was but it’s actually quite a powerhouse of a film for a seemingly modest AF budget. Let’s dig in.
The film focuses on Bum, played by the writer/director himself, a typical 30 year old looking college kid whose ambitions stretch beyond the realm of keggers and date rape and into the dimension of the paranormal. You see, Bum is in a theology course and thinks invoking a demonic possession unto himself and recording it is a fantabulous idea to get an A+. He goes to a creepy old manor where a previous possession left several dead and even finds the original ouija board from that exorcism hidden within the walls of the residence. Naturally he haggles some alt girl and a stoner as well as hires a medium and a notorious priest played by Bill Moseley (the only noteable name within the film) to accompany and protect him on his horrific journey which, as we can all imagine, doesn’t fare out to anyone’s advantage.
For having such a modest budget, which is most evident through the poor lighting in many shots, this film packs a wallop. The opening scene is some grainy filtered retro flashback where they use some pretty neat practical effects and a flexible actress to emulate a possession gone wrong (do they ever go right?) and also incorporate some well executed wire work to make the bitch float. It’s quite impressive and also seems like it wasn’t part of the original cut and was added later maybe after they received distribution perhaps. Either way I enjoyed it. Also, the storyline and writing is pretty excellent no matter how butchered and forced the dialogue seems from certain characters throughout.
My main issue with this film is, as I mentioned before, the lighting. It’s not terrible overall but certain scenes are pretty atrocious. For all the other aspects of a low budget film coming together decently this is where the production crew dropped the ball. Did they even have a cinematographer or gaffer? Or was it like when I make movies and assume 18 production roles at once (except I have a mild fetishes for lighting and acting so I would never release such unpolished backwash…then again this film is far more successful than any of mine but still it’s the artistry, man). It’s almost as if they just turned on every practical lighting available in whatever setting they were currently in and we’re like “I guess that’ll do”. It’s pretty lazy and thoughtless. There’s one scene in particular where a girl is walking down a “dark” hallway like she can’t see shit when clearly we can see shit. And in the same scene they have a really strong tungsten light blasting on the kitchen that I’m assuming is supposed to be moonlight but it just looks like a 500 watt with a blue gel is being irrevocably forced upon the actress’ s face. It’s a shame, really, because you can show so much artistry and creativity as well as skyrocket your production value if you just put some effort into some delicate moody lighting. So instead of some straight to DVD or VOD shit this film could have probably acquired a limited theatrical release if it looked polished like the studio films. Oh yeah, whoever color graded the film, and I’m not even entirely sure it was at all, also needs a spanking. Crush the blacks and make this shit look professional.
So aside from some questionable acting and lazy lighting, The Possession Experiment is more than just your typical straight to VOD suckfest. Storyline is topnotch, camera work for the most part is effective and interesting (minus a few botched wideshots), the pace, action, and kill count is pretty decent and they even throw a surprise ending at us in the last ten minutes that changes everything just like in Midnight Meat Train. I really just wish someone would turn of a practical light and hone in on their artistry. But alas, it’s not the worst I’ve seen and I genuinely enjoyed the film.
IMDB: No rating. Release date is October 27, 2016
Rotten Tomatoes: “No Results Found”
DEAD🐶 PUPPY: 3 overaged college students/5